Síle Englert is a poet, fiction writer and visual artist from London, Ontario. Her stories have been included in the shortlist for Room Magazine’s fiction contest and longlisted in Prism International. Síle’s poetry has placed second in Contemporary Verse 2’s 2-Day Poem Contest and has been featured in journals such as Room Magazine, Ascent Aspirations Anthology, Misunderstandings Magazine, the Saving Bannister Anthology and Crannóg Magazine (Ireland).

    The Busker *

     

    I am in the brushed silver of your eyes. Perhaps I am every shade of grey; my hair between the sidewalk, the buildings and the sky. I see with the soles of my feet and the colour in my hands. Every crack and fissure every ninety-degree angle, the carpet of cigarette butts and business-lunch, fast-food, coffee-break litter.

     

    These are my sounds: the stubborn clomp of your boots and the click of your heels. Mine. Metallic jingle-clank goes your parking meter coins slap the worn red velvet where my music sleeps. My music. Flowing. My billowing symphony around the buses and cars. This is my music. My tin thin plastic notes that could be any time at all but here. You are as grey as my eyes. 

     

    Keep walking. I can hear you; your voice is fish hooks and fireworks, rusted metal words you ricochet between the buildings that are twisted fingers grey in the daylight.

     

    White and black and white again my fingers move half-frozen crawling with the tingle burn of November. But music slithers somehow always out from under them. November knows, the air knows: no holes in your smart business shoes, your handmade knitted mittens, your leather gloves. The breathy heave and button click will tug at your hand. Drop the coin you were warming in your palm for the bus. You can fish out another.

     

    You might never feel your way home in the dark where the music ends, Past the unforgiving shelter of an alley awning where the woman whose toothless smile won’t stop speaking. Or the corner broken hooker who keeps asking for my coat. 

     

    This is the end of it. Every sunset counted away with the small sound of money scraped from red velvet. I put the music away. 

     

    * this piece originally appeared in Ascent Aspirations' Anthology Seven

    J’adoube **

     

     

    i. gambit

     

    rags still half-soaked with turpentine and resignation

    petal the floor beside an antique dresser or

    perhaps contentious puddle of cooking oil 

    dripping slowly down from the white stove

    your cat interrupting a candle

    the cigarette that slept in my mouth

    handfuls of scrubby wires left humming in the walls

     

    ii. battery

     

    ash on the floor in a halo of char and shreds of tobacco 

    crunched under bare feet; we run from red 

    in the walls, grab the photo albums or your cat

    flame eats the pile of newspapers that bundled our dishes 

    and floral wallpaper weeping with age

    we waltz with its powdered wig of smoke

    as one vinyl record pours blackly to the floor

    the fire is white bright and gilt rococo swirls

     

    iii. poisoned pawn

     

    the heat and its black venom cloud reach our aquarium

    milky belly of the last little neon protruding

    in a languid bob from warm water

    an angry, strangled sound from the cat

    bewildered by all of the death

    things burst they shiver and snap

    I reach for my jacket, slow fumble with shoelaces 

    choose instead the hasty exit, hand to door

    dusty carpets, dry wood sacrificed to a rush of oxygen

    this beast pulls itself from the air

    seizing my blunder

     

    iv. luft

     

    if not the hall, then what?

    tie the sheets together

    a desperate flailing trapeze act from

    the fourth storey window or else

    the closet

    yes

    breathless relish in a small protected square

     

    v. checkmate

     

    sententious fire waves its truth at my eyes and ears

    speaks sparsely with pop and crack

    hiss and flicker, pointed licks of flame

    sweep through rank and file until

    it finds me at D8 and captures the door

    so red has won

    but where are you

    the queen

    and where is the cat

    ** this piece originally appeared in Contemporary Verse 2 [Volume 36, Issue 2] as their 2-Day Poem Contest second-place winner

    What The River Thinks

     

    watch the arms of an umbrella stripped skeletal

    tortured fingers beaten slow to rusted submission 

    because they once kept out the rain

     

    catching on slate or half-buried 

    under rotten, sliming leaves until we both bump 

    splash like tongues against the toothy edge 

    where sodden guilt and humus 

    make their bed 

     

    I hold this form by rote, hooked turn 

    and petulant rapids follow the map-lines 

    too quick to quibble over smallish things 

    the argument between a pebble and errant leaf

    my courses unaltered by discarded things

    urging toward the refuge of pattern, compulsive 

    with each liquid cymbal crash 

     

    this is where I drag an umbrella over rocks and weeks, 

    wind around myself one last time, grow taut 

    unspent energy cascading in millions of shatter-tears

    over sudden void, throwing mad light

    and drowning the steely arms in rainbows

    until they break 

    where I pool 

    at the end. 

     

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